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VICA Honors Business Leaders at Annual Meeting
By: Stuart Waldman




The Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA) held its 63rd Annual Meeting recently. The meeting, held at the Warner Center Marriott, celebrated three outstanding VICA members and elected the 2013 Board of Directors.

Chair-Elect Coby King (Ek & Ek) led the membership in nominating and approving the 2013 Board of Directors and recognizing the past chairs of VICA.

VICA’s board of directors is made up of representatives of 80 member companies, including the executive committee.

Each year, VICA honors one of its esteemed members with the Harmon Ballin Community Service Award for their outstanding contributions to the San Fernando Valley community and long-term community service activities. The award was presented this year at the Annual Meeting  by 2011 recipient Kevin Tamaki (AT&T). This year’s deserving recipient was Greg Lippe (Gregory N. Lippe Accountancy Corp.)

Greg Lippe’s community involvement includes past chairman, current vice chair and treasurer of VICA, trustee and chairman of the Business School Advisory Board at Woodbury University, board member and treasurer of the California State Board of Pharmacy, and commissioner on the Los Angeles Fire and Police Pensions Board of Administration.

Lippe previously served on the boards of Habitat for Humanity, the Encino-Tarzana Hospital Foundation, Providence Holy Cross Expansion board, Walk of Hearts and the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency.

Lippe was honored twice as one of the top 25 CPA’s of the San Fernando Valley and credited as “Small Business Advocate of the Year” by the California Chamber of Commerce in 2007.

The President’s Award is given to a VICA volunteer who goes above and beyond in service to VICA throughout the year. The 7th Annual President’s Award was presented to Mel Kohn (Kirsch, Kohn and Bridge), who is an active and dedicated board member for VICA. Kohn also serves as chair of VICA’s Audit sub-committee and was VICA’s representative to the City of Los Angeles’ Business Tax Advisory Committee, which recommended the complete elimination of the gross receipts tax. Kohn will be a 2013 Vice Chair of VICA.

Kohn has served in many leadership roles at both the state and local levels. He was a founding member of the Accounting Practice Committee of the Los Angeles Chapter of the California Society of CPAs, and serves on the boards of the Valley Economic Development Center and FilmL.A., Inc. Kohn’s dedication to VICA and the Los Angeles business community made VICA proud to present him with this prestigious award. Kohn was the recipient of the Harmon Ballin Community Service Award in 2004.

The last award presented at VICA’s Annual Meeting was the Robert E. Gibson Corporate Award of Excellence. The award honors the memory of Robert E. Gibson and leaders of industries that have made the San Fernando Valley the most progressive and forward-thinking business community in Southern California.

This year the award was presented to Time Warner Cable. Operating in 28 states with 31 operating divisions, Time Warner Cable brings entertainment into the homes of over 14.6 million basic cable subscribers, 8.8 million digital cable subscribers, 8.7 million Road Runner residential subscribers, and 2.5 million DVR subscribers. Time Warner Cable is also the fifth largest landline phone provider in the United States.

Richard Benbow, Senior Director of Government Relations accepted the award on behalf of Time Warner Cable.

The Annual Meeting luncheon was capped off with a keynote address from co-CEO of Westfield Corporation, Peter Lowy. The company, one of the world’s largest retail property groups, has 150,000 shareholders around the world and investment interests in more than 100 shopping centers in five countries, with a gross value in excess of $61 billion.

Lowy, who has 29 years of experience in the shopping center and retail industry, spoke to VICA members about the impact of globalization on the real estate and retail market, and shared the achievements of the Westfield Corporation. Lowy also presented thrilling videos of Westfield’s Stratford City property in London, which was the gateway for the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Members who attended the Annual Meeting brought toy donations for Haven Hills, which provides safety and support to victims of domestic violence.

VICA’s Annual Meeting honors the Valley’s greatest players in the business community, serves to elect our Board of Directors, and kick-starts the holiday season. We look forward to 2013 with our new Board filled with some of the Valley’s most valued business leaders.